Dawn Miller, 33, of Hankins, New York recently pled guilty “to scheme to defraud” for thefts she perpetrated during her employment at Indian River Nursing Home in Granville. Miller was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state prison and was ordered to pay restitution for the nearly $4,500 she stole from residents. According to the Post Star, “She was found to have taken money from numerous residents’ personal accounts and to have created fake paperwork indicating it was used for legitimate purposes.”
This story sheds light on one of the more insidious forms of nursing home abuse; namely, that not all negligence involves the physical care of patients. Your elderly family members are also at risk of having their money stolen from them, making it impossible to ensure their continued care. Financial abuse is a particularly difficult subject, as it requires monitoring your loved one’s assets and proving that improprieties exist. If your loved one suffers from dementia, it can be even more difficult to trace a chain of events.
Common signs of abuse and neglect
Financial abuse carries its own particular set of symptoms, and they may not be immediately recognizable. Often times, elderly patients’ accusations are ignored by family members who are not intimately familiar with their loved one’s finances. This is especially true in cases where one parent is in a nursing home and the other is not; if you cannot access your parents’ accounts, you may not realize they are being drained until it is too late.
In order to protect your family members, familiarize yourself with their finances, and look out for missing items and any transactions that are out of the ordinary. If you see new charges to an account, it is reasonable to request that the facility explain any new or different charges. Listen carefully to what your loved ones say, and pay particular attention if your loved one mentions that something might be missing.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of elder abuse, it is important that you take action as soon as possible. Crandall & Pera Law serves clients in nursing homes throughout Kentucky, and our experienced legal team can help guide you through the steps you need to take to protect your loved one. Please contact us to visit one of our offices in Kentucky or in Ohio to learn more.